The World

This woman lives with her extended family of 50 people in a three-story house in one of Gaza’s refugee camps. They depend on food aid from the United Nations. For almost a month there’s been a shortage of cooking gas in Gaza so the woman says she bakes 100 rounds of pita bread every day in an outdoor wood-burning oven. She says the situation has brought us 40 years back. She was a vocal Hamas supporter, but now she blames Hamas for the deteriorating economic situation. Hamas staged a violent takeover of Gaza a year and a half ago. Since then Gazans say Hamas has completely consolidated its hold over the strip. In some respects they say life is easier under Hamas: police keep traffic moving and crime has all but disappeared. But many say the Israeli siege has made life unbearable and even those with money can’t get to it. Timing has been especially bad because Monday starts a Muslim feast, a time when Muslims typically buy new clothes and toys for their children. This Palestinian official says the situation is worse than it has ever been: in the past month the price of meat has doubled and fruit has tripled. He says he and many of his friends are depressed. The frustration extends to human rights workers as well. This worker says the U.N. has been finding it harder to help people in Gaza, and Israeli restrictions have prevented them from functioning normally. But he says Israel’s new policy of closing the border crossing every time a rocket is fired is counterproductive because it increases concerns of radicalization.

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